ad info

 
CNN.com  technology > computing
    Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback  

 

  Search
 
 

 
TECHNOLOGY
TOP STORIES

Consumer group: Online privacy protections fall short

Guide to a wired Super Bowl

Debate opens on making e-commerce law consistent

(MORE)

TOP STORIES

More than 11,000 killed in India quake

Mideast negotiators want to continue talks after Israeli elections

(MORE)

MARKETS
4:30pm ET, 4/16
144.70
8257.60
3.71
1394.72
10.90
879.91
 


WORLD

U.S.

POLITICS

LAW

ENTERTAINMENT

HEALTH

TRAVEL

FOOD

ARTS & STYLE



(MORE HEADLINES)
*
 
CNN Websites
Networks image


Mercedes makes a Net gain at Comdex

IDG.net

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (IDG) -- Cars in the future will deliver Internet-based services and entertainment to users, a Mercedes-Benz USA executive said here at Comdex Wednesday in the first ever keynote address at the trade show given by an automotive executive.

Mercedes models to come will provide dynamic maps using information from other cars that have traveled a route, download movies from video stores via short-range wireless networks and pass on information from connected home appliances such as an empty refrigerator, said Ken Enders, vice president of marketing for Mercedes Benz USA LLC, a subsidiary of Daimler Benz AG.

With the average American commuter in a vehicle for 90 minutes each day -- and up to five hours in New York or the San Francisco Bay Area -- autos will become a common place to seek information from the Internet, he added.

 
  MESSAGE BOARD
 
 VIDEO
CNN's Rick Lockridge takes a looks at the first wireless, Web-controlled robot at Comdex

Play video
(QuickTime, Real or Windows Media)
 

Trade show attendees should get used to seeing auto makers at computer events -- Mercedes-Benz is the official automotive sponsor of this year's Comdex -- as the two industries begin to cooperate more.

When it comes to reliability in hostile environments, Enders said, the automotive system is ahead of the IT industry: embedded computers in cars continue to operate in baking-hot temperatures or while sprayed with water. "Your PC can't do that," he said.

"The power of combining the marketing expertise and the technological innovation of both our industries could be exponential," Enders said. "Don't be surprised to see more of the likes of me at future computer trade shows," he added.

Mercedes and some other automakers already are using GPS (global positioning system) information and cellular connectivity to provide emergency services and directions to drivers, and the range of services soon will expand, Enders said. Internet connectivity will help expand the offerings to include data such as dining recommendations, entertainment programs and even maps that keep up with construction obstacles and other changes on a driver's commute route, he added.

"Cars have become the next big untapped platform for mobile e-services," Enders said.

MORE COMPUTING INTELLIGENCE
IDG.net   IDG.net home page
  IDG.net's Comdex news channel
  With biometrics, you're the password
  Low-cost Linux has global appeal
  Comdex a victim of its own success
  Reviews & in-depth info at IDG.net
  Top how-to's and advice from IDG.net
  Subscribe to IDG.net's free daily newsletters
  Questions about computers? Let IDG.net's editors help you
  Personal computing news and reviews from IDG.net
  Search IDG.net in 12 languages
  News Radio
  * Fusion audio primers
  * Computerworld Minute

The key to making auto Internet services useful will be to deliver information filtered according to a driver's location and, most importantly, preferences, he explained.

"Marketing a swanky new Asian restaurant to a driver based on their proximity is a no-brainer today. But (in future), we will be able to do it only to drivers who like Asian food," he said.

Enders' predictions were largely well received by the audience.

Lars Sveijer, an engineer with L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co.'s mobile phone division in Sweden who watched Enders' presentation, said he was not surprised to see an automotive industry executive speaking at Comdex.

Sveijer said the PC industry had nothing to learn technically from the automotive industry. "It's more the other way around," he said. However, IT manufacturers would do well to draw on the automotive industry's experience of branding and lifestyle marketing, he added.

Adam Zylstra, a self-confessed "techie type" from Orange County, California, comes to Comdex "every year." He found Enders' ideas "maybe a little far fetched," but thought that a more water- and heat-resistant PC would be useful. "The PC industry could definitely protect computer equipment, make it waterproof so if you have a fire, the sprinkler going off doesn't kill all the systems," Zylstra said.

Fred Rarick, a physician from Rolling Hills Estates, California, is not a Mercedes-Benz customer, but is already enjoying the benefits of Cadillac's on-road assistance service. He is skeptical of the usefulness of having advertising messages beamed into his car, even while stationery. "I'm not sure I need it very much," he said. "It's not too exciting to me." Rarick is also unwilling to allow a car manufacturer to collect information about his shopping and other preferences.

He was more inclined to permit a virtual "hive" of communicating car computers to track his movements in order to build up a detailed picture of road conditions.

"On occasion, it could be advantageous, but if I had to pay US$5,000 extra for it, I wouldn't be interested," Rarick said. "You can see all these things adding more expense to your car."

It seems that every new technology wave in the IT industry must find its "killer app" -- but Rarick already knows what he expects of automotive computing. "Now if Mercedes could solve the parking problem, they would really have something."

Speaking to IDG News Service after the presentation, Enders said that dynamic mapping based on federated computing could have the answer to the eternal parking space question.

"That application I can see extending to parking spaces. ...You would know if a vehicle was in a space or not," Enders said. But wouldn't that result in a race for spaces between all drivers subscribing to the service? "Things aren't perfect. This is not a perfect solution," he concluded.




RELATED STORIES:
GM to study driver distraction from in-vehicle gadgets
October 20, 2000
Palm and partners to launch wireless, voice-activated service for cars
October 13, 2000
Web-enabled cars: Fast lane to disaster?
March 24, 2000
E-cars take to the streets
March 14, 2000
GM, Ford connecting drivers to the Internet
January 11, 2000

RELATED IDG.net STORIES:
IDG.net's Comdex news channel
(IDG.net)
Comdex a victim of its own success
(The Industry Standard)
Synchronizing PCs and non-PCs won't get easier
(IDG.net)
PC-to-stereo music playback, with or without wires
(IDG.net)
Low-cost Linux has global appeal
(IDG.net)
McAfee.com ahead of Microsoft on .Net push
(IDG.net)
With biometrics, you're the password
(IDG.net)
ATI USB Tuner puts TV on your PC
(PC World)

RELATED SITES:
Mercedes-Benz USA
Comdex Fall 2000

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 Search   

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.